Having just returned last weekend from three weeks of midsummer heat in Australia to the continuing deep freeze of winter in Canada, I am especially mindful of changing seasons. March is the month of the spring equinox. At this time of year, day and night are roughly 12 hours each, and the sun is at the midpoint in the sky.

Jim Clemmer - The Practical LeaderIn my favorite of his books, Great Expectations, Charles Dickens descriptively writes (as he so often does), "it was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold:  when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade." While here in Canada Mother Nature can throw winter at us one day and spring the next, we also have a choice on where we stand: in the sun or in the shade. Do we look for strengths or weaknesses? Do we build on successes or dwell on failures? Do we lead, coach, and develop people to grow their potential or do we manage (often micromanage) their performance and keep them in the cold and shade?

Prior to Heather joining me for a wonderful two week vacation in Australia (one of many highlights was snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef), I spent a busy week in February working with senior and middle management teams in the engineering and maintenance division at QANTAS Airways in and around their headquarters in Sydney. Under the theme of "LEADERSHIFT: Living the Brand" this division is very effectively refocusing and re-growing their service and support for the company’s rebranding work. This is being done with extensive leadership and culture development work around continuous service quality improvement. The whole effort is well planned, designed, and executed. It is an excellent example of building on the company’s long success and strengths to fly high on the winds of change tossing around many airlines around the world.

The March issue of The Leader Letter being published tomorrow, deals with the choices we have in listening to the voice of our customers (ideally before we have a riot on our hands), persuading and influencing, limiting our possibilities, leading @ the speed of change, and developing "soft skills" like coaching. I hope you find this issue helps you to "March" into this month with inspiration, ideas, and practical approaches to warm yourself and others in the light of leadership!